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Cablegate: The International Anticorruption and Good Governance Act

VZCZCXYZ0006
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHUJA #0484/01 0721356
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 121356Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2321
INFO RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS 8920

UNCLAS ABUJA 000484

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR INL/C/CP (DKOHN) (DLUNA), INL/C (RGIFFORD), INL/P
(CSHARRIS), INL/AAE (ECARROLL) (JLYLE), AF/W ASILSKI), AF/EPS
(CERTEL), H (MSMITH)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KCOR KCRM SNAR NI IZ

SUBJECT: THE INTERNATIONAL ANTICORRUPTION AND GOOD GOVERNANCE ACT
(IAGGA) AND RELATED REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

REF: STATE 18836

1. (U) Mission Nigeria provides the following in response to
reftel.

2. (U) Host country efforts to combat corruption and improve
transparency/acountability in 2006/2007: Former President Olusegun
Obasanjo initiated a broad agenda to tackle corruption, including
enforcement of existing anticorruption legislation, passage of
fiscal transparency and public procurement legislation and the
Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) bill,
and civil service reform. These initiatives led to the arrest,
prosecution and/or conviction of several high ranking public
officials including State Governors, an Inspector General of Police,
and a Senate President who was eventually impeached. President Musa
Umaru Yar'Adua, who assumed office in May 2007, vowed to build on
the reform legacy of the previous administration. Yar'Adua set the
tone for his administration by voluntarily declaring his assets and
by consistent public reference to the importance of the rule of law.

However, the sudden transfer of the very active Chairman of the
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), plans to merge the
EFCC with the less effective Independent Corrupt Practices
Commission (ICPC) and the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), and the
failure to sign the Freedom of Information bill passed under the
previous administration raise questions about the administration's
commitment to anticorruption efforts. In 2007, the GON established
a Technical Unit on Governance and Anti-Corruption (headed by a
former recipient of USG anti-corruption and good governance
training) to coordinate all GON anti-corruption efforts in order to
ensure effective partnership and coalition building among
governmental watchdog agencies. Commitment to and progress in
anticorruption reform is generally much less evident at state and
local levels and varies significantly from state to state. Some
states have recently begun to improve budget processes and public
expenditure management but progress in other key areas is less
apparent.
3. (U) USG funded programs/initiatives and diplomatic effort to
combat corruption and improve transparency/accountability in
2006/2007: Training assistance has helped EFCC and ICPC prosecutors
and investigators to develop their capacity to combat corruption,
money laundering and terrorist financing. Since 2004, the USG has
also facilitated the training of EFCC personnel in cybercrime and
criminal investigations. Despite its successes, there are
allegations that the EFCC has been used in the past to intimidate
political opponents, many believe that its work to reduce
corruption, targeting politicians and businessmen, caused this
outcry. Since May 2005, the USG has provided an Intermittent Legal
Advisor (ILA) to the ICPC.
4 (U) During the reporting period, the USG continued to implement
several projects as part of the G-8 transparency and anticorruption
compact with Nigeria. Work with the Office of the Accountant
General to institutionalize the Transaction Recording and Reporting
System continues as the system is deployed to the zonal level to
strengthen budget and payroll oversight and audit capabilities. In
addition to assisting the EFCC, the USG also assists the Nigerian
Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and the Special Control Unit
against Money Laundering (SCUML) as both continue to provide the
EFCC with data necessary to pursue corruption cases. Officers from
ICPC, EFCC, and SCUML attended USG-funded criminal investigative and
financial forensics courses at the International Law Enforcement
Academy (ILEA) in Gaborone, Botswana.

5. (U) The USG worked closely with civil society during the
reporting period to promote accountability and transparency in key
institutions, most importantly the national legislature. Over the
past three years, USAID support through the National Democratic
Institute (NDI) helped to establish an independent, bicameral,
non-partisan, and highly professional National Assembly Budget and
Research Office (NABRO), enabling it to carry out its oversight
responsibilities and enhance citizens' input in the budget process.
In FY 2007 almost 500 government officials, including both elected
members and permanent staff of the National Assembly, received
USG-funded training on budget best practice and broader
anti-corruption agendas.

6. (U) In FY 07, USG support focused on increasing effective
advocacy for key policy reforms, strengthening civil society -
government partnerships to fight corruption, and building program
and financial management capacity of 21 civil society organizations
(CSOs), focusing on national membership organizations, coalitions,
and professional groups. Particular efforts were made to engage
historically marginalized groups, including people living with
disabilities, women, and Muslim faith-based organizations. The CSOs
successfully conducted 152 anticorruption advocacy campaigns,
increased civil society oversight capacity in monitoring oil and
mineral revenues, and broadened civic participation in the

democratic process. Jointly organized National Budget forums
provided opportunities for CSOs to demand accountability from
government, with government demonstrating increased willingness to
respond to these demands. USAID extended budget advocacy support
to CSOs in four Nigerian states for engagement with sub-national
governments on budgetary issues in specific sectors.

Sanders

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